Interesting look at some well known cities and towns across the country. Not surprisingly, the tech start-up capitol of the world, Palo Alto takes the #5 spot, and has a staggeringly higher median income and median home price compared to the others.
On a side note, I see these “Best Places to Live” articles all the time and the destinations always different, undoubtedly due to the complete subjectivity of the research involved and the the overall bias involved with publishing such an article.
20. Eugene, Oregon
Located near the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, Eugene is an outdoorsy city with tons of water sports and a health-conscious attitude. The city is also home to the University of Oregon and has numerous performing arts and cultural venues.
Median Household Income: $41,525
Median Home Price: $244,600
19. Rockville, Maryland
18. Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City offers a ton of recreational activities for residents, thanks to its proximity to the mountains and ski resorts. The University of Utah lends a lot to the city’s culture.
Median Household Income: $44,510
Median Home Price: $240,600
17. Overland Park, Kansas
Livability gave Overland Park, the second-largest city in Kansas, high marks with regards to its sports facilities and schools. The city attracts families and young professionals with a good balance of residential, retail, and office space.
Median Household Income: $72,074
Median Home Price: $224,300
16. Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara has beautiful beaches, shopping centers, performing arts venues, and microbreweries. It also has a solid healthcare and educational system, with a strong economy thanks to tourism.
Median Household Income: $63,758
Median Home Price: $880,500
15. San Mateo, California
San Mateo, in California’s Silicon Valley, has a large downtown district with more than 800 stores and restaurants. The city also has more than 15 parks, including the Japanese Tea Garden, along with many historical buildings.
Median Household Income: $87,662
Median Home Price: $719,700
14. Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue’s strength is its education, with its highly ranked public schools and the presence of two colleges: Bellevue College and City University of Seattle. The city also gets high marks for its natural beauty, with Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains.
Median Household Income: $88,073
Median Home Price: $541,600
13. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and is filled with school pride. The city has more than 300 restaurants located in a 20-mile radius as well as great schools, medical facilities, culture, and more.
Median Household Income: $53,814
Median Home Price: $231,700
12. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville has a strong public school system and healthcare system, with places like Asheville VA Medical Center and Mission Health System. The southern city also hosts tons of attractions with nightclubs, performance venues, and microbreweries.
Median Household Income: $42,333
Median Home Price: $195,500
11. Bozeman, Montana
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Bozeman is home to the large Montana State University, lending it the college town feel. There are also plenty of options for outdoors activities like skiing and hiking, while the economy is growing with tech- and research-based companies.
Median Household Income: $44,818
Median Home Price: $259,000
10. Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City has a ton of culture, with ties to the literary greats John Irving and Flannery O’Connor. The University of Iowa is also located in the city, which gives it a strong community full of entertainment and the arts.
Median Household Income: $42,220
Median Home Price: $181,000
9. Boise, Idaho
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With the Rocky Mountains close at hand, Boise is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. But there’s also a home for cerebral types in the “City of Trees,” thanks to unique museums and a strong university system, as well as great healthcare options.
Median Household Income: $49,182
Median Home Price: $188,200
8. Missoula, Montana
Thanks to nearby mountains, rivers, and 400 acres of parkland, Missoula provides plenty of entertainment for those who love the outdoors. There’s also plenty of culture as well with breweries, coffee houses, independent bookstores, and music venues.
Median Household Income: $39,076
Median Home Price: $238,300
7. Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara is another city located in the booming Silicon Valley. Residents soak up 300 days of sunshine a year and can enjoy the city’s parks, historic architecture, and local Santa Clara University.
Median Household Income: $92,198
Median Home Price: $618,600
6. Berkeley, California
Aside from hosting the campus of the highly regarded UC Berkeley, the San Francisco Bay town is a foodie haven, landing on Livability’s lists of top 10 foodie cities in 2013 and 2014. The city also has cultural attractions like museums, galleries, and theaters.
Median Household Income: $63,505
Median Home Price: $707,700
5. Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto is the center of Silicon Valley and one of the most expensive cities in the country. A 31-mile dark fiber ring around the city provides ultra-high-speed internet access, and there’s an emphasis on education and open spaces, creating a politically active and socially minded population.
Median Household Income: $122,482
Median Home Price: $1,000,000
4. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is situated along the Rocky Mountains with an elevation of 5,400 feet, providing plenty of opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and biking. Additionally, Boulder has several shopping centers and great restaurants. It’s also home to the University of Colorado, with 31,000 students.
Median Household Income: $56,206
Median Home Price: $489,500
3. Arlington, Virginia
Arlington is an upscale city in the suburbs of D.C. with a large population of government employees. It is home to both George Mason University and Marymount University, along with the famous Arlington National Cemetery.
Median Household Income: $102,459
Median Home Price: $577,300
2. Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester has a booming arts culture, thanks in part to the founders of the Mayo Clinic, who wanted to attract top physicians to the city. It also has a stable economy, as well as tons of restaurants and shops.
Median Household Income: $63,490
Median Home Price: $165,300
1. Madison, Wisconsin
Last year, Madison was ranked No. 5 on Livability’s list, and the city’s mayor worked hard to improve that score and life for Madison’s residents. As the capital of Wisconsin and home to University of Wisconsin, Madison provides its residents with affordable housing, great schools, and healthcare, along with plenty of recreational and entertainment options.
Median Household Income: $53,958
Median Home Price: $217,500